Strike-hit France importing massive amounts of electricity

Strike-hit France was forced to import electricity equivalent to the output of six nuclear reactors because of anti-pension reform industrial action and maintenance at its power stations.

Updated: Oct 21, 2010, 00:52 AM IST

Paris: Strike-hit France was today forced
to import electricity equivalent to the output of six nuclear
reactors because of anti-pension reform industrial action and
maintenance at its power stations.

During one hour in the middle of the day, France
imported 5,990 megawatts of electricity or six reactors`
worth, said the website of the RTE electricity network, a
subsidiary of national electricity supplier EDF.

France has traditionally been an exporter of
electricity, but nationwide strike action by workers including
at utilities such as the EDF combined with maintenance work at
several reactors means France is now an importer.

Sixteen of France`s 58 reactors are currently closed,
12 for maintenance and four because of unplanned technical
issues, an EDF spokeswoman said.

"EDF is paying for the lack of investment in its
reactors," said Laurent Langlard of the powerful CGT union`s
energy branch.

Electricity workers in southwestern France said they
have also cut electricity to 15 town halls controlled by the
UMP party of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made pension
reform a key policy of his mandate, the CGT said.

PTI